COUNCIL TO APPOINT TASK FORCE TO STUDY WAYS TO PROTECT PUBLIC ART, MURALS

Spurred by the recent defacement of three city murals, the Los Angeles City Council has voted to appoint a task force to develop an ordinance and suggest other ways to protect the city's public artworks.

The task force, consisting of various city officials, will be given 90 days for the study, which will include recommendations from the public. Murals by artists Kent Twitchell and Tom Van Sant have been painted over during the last few months.

Councilman Joel Wachs, chairman of a council committee handling the issue, said during a council meeting Wednesday, that in addition to an ordinance, other protections the task force might consider include financial incentives for property owners on whose property such artworks exist (or will exist), or preservation work to be undertaken by the city.

"The point is not to be tied only to a law," Wachs said in an interview. "I'm hopeful that eventually there will be whatever it takes to protect the murals" and public artworks in the city.

The task force, as initially conceived by Councilman Michael Woo, was limited to protections for murals. But, Wachs said, after some input from members of the local art community, he amended the original plan to include other artworks, such as the sculptures in MacArthur Park.

Woo said Wednesday he expects the task force to hold its first meeting within two weeks.

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